Gov. Jan Brewer is building up her war chest to help elect like-minded Republicans to Congress. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.
New reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show Brewer collected nearly $42,000 in donations in the last half of 2013 to Jan PAC. But, with what she already had in the bank, that gives her close to $345,000, with plenty of time to keep raising money before the election. The biggest single donation in the most recent report is $25,000 from Charles Joyce, chairman of Otis Eastern Services, which builds and rehabilitates gas pipelines.
“He’s a great guy — a charmer to be sure. And he likes good government. And he’s a supporter of mine,” Brewer said.
The governor said he does have an Arizona connection, owning a Scottsdale art studio and having a home here. The filing comes as Brewer continues to cement her hardline position on immigration — and against what she calls “amnesty” — even as Republicans in both the U.S. House and Senate are sketching out their own plans for immigration reform. On Friday, the governor was interviewed by Fox News host Stuart Varney about her opposition to a pathway to citizenship for anyone before the border is secure.
“Would you throw them out?” Varney asked.
“Yes,” Brewer said.
Brewer told Arizona Public Radio she meant what she said.
“Should they be forced to go? Well, I believe in the rule of law,” she said.
And she has no second thoughts.
“Maybe it is pretty harsh. But the fact of the matter is, I understand there’s an issue there and we need to resolve all these issues. But, we’re not able to come to any resolution unless we get our borders secure. I don’t think the American people are going to stand for it,” Brewer said.
Brewer said she’s not saying the border needs to be sealed tight. But she said a lot more can be done to secure it.
“We can get more technology on the border. We can get more enforcement on the border. We can get drones in the air. And we can get equipment that works. And then, when our ranchers and our citizens that are being impacted on a daily basis tell us that it has stopped, then we can move forward,” she said.
The governor said, though, that how she doles out the money from her PAC is not based solely on what candidates believe about immigration. Brewer said she’s looking for people who support “good government.” Her latest report shows the governor also picked up another $5,000 from Copart, a nationwide chain of auto auction houses, including locations in Phoenix and Tucson. That is on top of $10,000 the company contributed earlier last year — and on top of $120,000 she has been able to get during the past two years from Willis Johnson, the company’s chairman of the board.
“He’s a great guy and he wants nothing in return. And he’s a businessman in Arizona. But he’s never asked or tried to influence my position on anything. He just really, truly believes in my philosophy,” Brewer said.
Brewer’s record in using her PAC money in 2012 produced mixed results. She spent $40,000 on a mailer urging residents of CD 1 to support Republican Jonathan Paton, and another $35,000 in a separate mailer attacking Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick. Paton lost. The governor had no better luck backing Republican Martha McSally in her bid to take away the CD 2 seat that Ron Barber inherited from Gabrielle Giffords. And, her support of Republican candidates Vernon Parker for Congress and Mitt Romney for president were equally fruitless. But, she did better with the $125,000 spent on behalf of Republican Jeff Flake to beat Democrat Richard Carmona for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the retirement of Jon Kyl.